MTN Nigeria, the country’s leading telecommunications provider, has officially rolled out the nation’s maiden 5G network after switching on the network in 190 sites across the country in the early hours of Wednesday, August 24, 2022.
The telecom providers, along with Mafab Communications, won the auction for the 3.5GHz 5G spectrum in December 2021 and have officially commenced rollout, making Nigeria the third African country to have officially launched commercial 5G services after South Africa and Kenya.
The National Communications Commission reportedly received a $273.6 million licence fee from MTN and Mafab Communications in February and set August 24 as the deadline for roll-out commencement. Mafab Communications who beat telecommunications giant Airtel to the license in December, didn’t meet the deadline but have been handed a 5-month extension by the NCC.
However, MTN which have been giving hints about their preparation for a roll-out for months, have successfully launched the technology in Nigeria in 190 sites across Lagos and Abuja with the aim of increasing the number to 600 across at least three more states by October.
MTN had been taking on 5G network trials long before they obtained the license and have ran spectrum tests as far back as 2019.
Most MTN users will however not be able to access the 5G network immediately until their phone brands deliver updates necessary to accommodate the technology. However, the company has capitalised on this, claiming the low density of usage will ensure high speed downloads at this time, encouraging telecom subscribers to begin pre-order of their 5G devices.